Sal Mancini would be proud.
The late former mayor of North Providence would surely have a smile of knowing approval on his face while regarding the recent work of the town's new head ramrod, Charlie Lombardi. Perhaps even moreso than Lombardi's predecessor, now-Secretary of State Ralph Mollis, who continued being the focus of off-the-wall stories while in the office that Sal launched when he served as Nawt Prov's first mayor from 1974-1994.
Lombardi made headlines in June by conjuring up enough money to pay the town's employees, saying it was from federal stimulus money, which raised more than a few eyebrows. Not that Lombardi would have been alone in using the funds to backfill deficits, which sort of contradicts the use of the word "stimulus." Perhaps "covering your ass for stupid past decisions that got you into unbelievable debt funds" would be more apt for how a good deal of that Washington handout has been used by all and sundry here in Vo Dilun.
Problem was, he was completely wrong.
Lombardi actually didn't realize his town financial director had scotched the idea of using the stimulus funds on — dare we say "principle," an unknown word in what P+J recently heard referred to as the "Tri-Guido Area" of Nawt Prov, the all-gay city of Johnston, and our own Capital City. (Note: We find that phrase totally politically incorrect and therefore will never use it in print.) But it turned out that Cholly was "out of the loop," and the finance director and director of administration instead grabbed the funds from the municipality's Fire Department rescue service funds.
Being out of the loop again appears to be the operative phrase in Lombardi's domain, as recent reports detail. Mayor Cholly had a brainstorm (given his demonstration of intellectual powers of late, call it light showers, clearing up later in the afternoon to clouds and sun): he would sell off surplus government assets on eBay!
Unfortunately, Nawt Prov's resident genius auctioned an office trailer that the town didn't . . . er, um, cough . . . actually own. Lombardi's defense was pure Mancini-esque tap-dancing, as he claimed Internet virginity: he told a reporter at the Urinal that it was his first eBay experience.
Nonetheless, Hizzoner's sharp work leads P+J to bestow upon him the highly-coveted Nawt Prov Sal Mancini Memorial Governance Award, which comes complete with a set of white belt and shoes.
STATE OF DISARRAY
What is this world coming to when you can't have minors stripping in clubs, or enjoy a little legal indoor prostitution. Have we reverted to Puritanism? What cheer, Netop, indeed. We can hear Roger Williams moaning from his tomb in the North Burial Ground.
Since we obviously needed something new to keep our minds off of Rhode Island's abysmal economic situation now that the Michael Jackson story has been beaten like a dozen dead horses, what could be more of a distraction and wonderful advertisement for the state than trumpeting the fact that indoor prostitution is still legal in Little Rhody, and that we feel the need to point out that we may have been allowing 16-year-olds to peel off their knickers in bars? C'mon over to the Ocean State, Mr. and Mrs. Tourist, and bring the whole family (especially that "funny uncle" who lives in that little room in your attic and doesn't get out much)!